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In an interview given to The Tablet in 1989, two years before he died, Graham Greene described himself as “a Catholic agnostic” and added that there were two things keeping him from losing his faith altogether. The first was the moment in the Fourth Gospel when Peter and John ran to the tomb: “It just seems to me to be first-hand reportage, and I can’t help believing it . . . I know that St. Mark is supposed to be the earliest gospel, but there’s just the possibility of St. John’s Gospel having been written by a very old man, who never calls himself by name, or says ‘I,’ but does describe this almost funny race, which strikes me as true.”

The second was Padre Pio, whom Greene met and whose photograph he then carried in his wallet for the rest of his life. The encounter with Pio seems to have happened in the late 1940s, though the date is uncertain. Greene discussed the incident openly only forty years later, with his biographer Norman Sherry, and in correspondence with the Newsweek journalist Kenneth Woodward.

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